Canadian IBM employees will join their counterparts from 33 other countries as part of a volunteer program to develop leadership skills in emerging markets.

Big Blue said it winnowed down 5,000 candidates to 1000 people who will participate in its “Corporate Peace Corps,” which will partner with a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on projects involving IT and so-called developing nations. The NGOs include Canada’s Digital Trust, among others.

The IBM employees will spend three months prior to visiting other countries to learn language and local culture. Projects include teams that will assist small businesses in Romania, creating information systems in the Philippines and other initiatives in Tanzania and Ghana, West Africa. IBM said it will eventually expand the program to 600 employees.